Have you ever imagined that you could the person winning a speech contest?
Bob Ferguson has won the district Evaluation Contest, the Humorous Speech Contest and the International Speech Contest. He is well qualified to give us some top tips!
He has said on many occasions that entering contests is one of the best ways to help you improve your public speaking skills. The added focus means that you learn an improve quickly. To put it another way winning a speech contest is a great learning experience.
- 1. Record your speech ideas in a book as they come along. This way you’ll have plenty of good ideas when it comes to writing a speech.
- 2. Use a personal story in your speech to hook the audience in emotional. You want them to feel involved in what they’re hearing.
- 3. Remember to think about “What’s in it for me” (WIIFM) from the audience’s viewpoint. Speeches are always more compelling when they address our needs.
- 4. Listen to other speakers. See what they do that builds rapport with the audience. Can you customise that technique to your style?
- 5. The key to a good humorous speech is to think how many people will recognise the humorous situations you describe. Good observational humour, where everyone recognises the humour, will make it easy for them to laugh. Personal jokes that only you appreciate can be hard to deliver. They can also get a blank response! This is true for the humorous speech contest. It also applies if you are bringing humour into your speech for the International contest.
- 6. Practice doing your manual speeches outside your club to build your confidence in front of different audiences.
- 7. Prepare for your club speech like it’s the District final. Every District champion starts by winning a club contest and it could be your club – imagine if you beat them!
- 8. Record yourself practicing and put it on a CD or MP3. Play it in your car while you drive around. That way you learn the speech by a natural learning method and you can think while you learn.
- 9. Don’t rehearse in front of a mirror it can be distracting. Instead, video yourself and watch it back. This may take a little getting used to but it will be very worthwhile.
- 10. Get as much stage time as possible. Look for every opportunity – family groups, business meetings. Grab the opportunity to practice your competition speech in front of anyone you can.
Bob’s top tip for the International Speech Contest
Look ahead to the finals of the World Championship of Public Speaking
**For International Speech competitors start writing three speeches as soon as possible. Most winners of the International speech are not focussed on competing in the World Semi-Finals held at the International Convention. They forget their winning District speech took a lot of effort to polish. Enter the contest with three speeches so that you’re ready if you win.**